The body works in mysterious ways. This a nursing mother knows.
She had read about breast milk changing to tailor a baby’s needs in a medical journal, but it wasn’t until she looked at her own breast milk that she really understood the amazing abilities of the human body.
On Facebook, she explains:
“[In the article] this doctor discusses that when a baby nurses, it creates a vacuum in which the infant’s saliva sneaks into the mother’s nipple. There, it is believed that mammary gland receptors interpret the “baby spit backwash” for bacteria and viruses and, if they detect something amiss (i.e., the baby is sick or fighting off an infection), Mom’s body will actually change the milk’s immunological composition, tailoring it to the baby’s particular pathogens by producing customized antibodies.”
Because she nurses several times throughout the night, she pumped before she went to bed on Thursday, knowing the next time she pumped would be Friday morning.
“I noticed in the wee hours of Friday morning, 3 AM or so– she was congested, irritable, and sneezing ALOT. Probably a cold, right?”
When she woke up the next morning she did her routine pump. It was then that she noticed the difference in the milk.
The bag on the left represents milk she had previously pumped, and the bag on the right represents the milk she produced that Friday.
“Look at how much more the milk I produced Friday resembles colostrum (The super milk full of antibodies and leukocytes you make during the first few days after birth) and this comes after nursing the baby with a cold all night long..”
According to Nature.com, though the specific responses of breastmilk immune factors to various infections is not very well understood, breastmilk does protect nursing babies from infections. Doctor Sears explains that when an infant comes into contact with a new germ, the mother’s body begins to produce antibodies, which are then present in the breastmilk. By drinking the breastmilk, the infant builds up immunity to the new germ.
As Mallory Smothers puts it: the human body never ceases to amaze.